The Advertiser’s letters page this week includes views on child poverty in Argyll and Bute; a response to columnist Ruth Wishart’s views on Jacob Rees-Mogg; and how smart meters might be upping fuel costs.

To have your say on any local topic, just email your views to with 'Letter' in the subject line of your message.

Please include your name and address, and also a daytime phone number in case we need to contact you to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!


“One in five Burgh children in poverty” was the headline in the Advertiser last week.

This is a myth based on the definition of poverty used in the UK:- A household is in relative poverty if its income is below 60% of the median household income

All public statements in Scotland about poverty refer to relative poverty. In Scotland, someone is judged to be poor in relation to the rest of the population. The more rich people there are, the more poor there are in the statistical sense. Whether they are poor in the absolute sense is an entirely separate question. The median income in the UK in 2017 was £27,300. A single mother with one child would fall into the poverty trap if the household income is less than £16,380.

I grew up during the Second World War in a farm cottage in Berwickshire. The house had no water, no electricity. The toilet was outside behind the pig stys. We were six adults and one child. My only toy was a glass jar filled with corks. When they were poured onto the carpet, they could be anything my imagination conjured up. I wasn’t parked in front of a video screen. We would be considered to be living in poverty by the standards of 2018, but we weren’t poor. I grew up in a loving environment, in a close community Life is not all about material wealth. Modern families strive for the semi-detached house in the suburbs with 2.5 children and two cars in the driveway. For most, this comes with enormous stress There is little sense of community, the children lead isolated lives connected by an expensive mobile device since they can’t be trusted alone outside.

Earlier this year Sir Tom Hunter decided to tackle the “poverty” problem in Scotland by donating £7.5 million to good causes. Sir Tom fails to realize that he is part of the statistical “poverty” problem.

Sir Tom Hunter can solve the child “poverty” problem in Scotland today by giving away his billions. By the miracle of statistics, tomorrow morning, thousands of Scottish kids will wake up out of poverty.

John Black

Via email


There is a a very concerning development in the public discussions on political topic; this is well illustrated in Ruth Wishart's column published on the 12th April. She described the opinions of Jacob Rees-Mogg as 'ridiculous posturing', and later as 'outrageous cant'.

These comments would be perfectly acceptable if Mr. Rees-Moggs were debating the matter with Mrs Wishart face to face, but is just blatant grandstanding in a newspaper column. The abuse continues when she writes that 'the reason this manor-dwelling toff either doesn't know or doesn't care about it is that he and are well insulated from the desperation of families who may find

food banks the means of last resort to put food on their children's' plates'.

There is a real problem with the state accepting the responsibility to ensure everyone has enough to eat, a good roof over their head,

healthcare for life and all the other necessities of life. The problem is that all these things become rights, and we are all entitled to turn

up at the doctor to be cured, even if we can not be troubled proper care of our health; we are entitled to be provided with a house, if we spent

our income on a mobile phone.

Of course, there are some who are hungry through no fault of their own; but there are some who turn up at the foodbank because it is there. The state can not turn away the chancers, but the food bank can. How does Mrs Wishart choose who is deserving and who is not; that is what needs


John F Stirling

Via email


I would like to draw your attention to an article in the HA dated 27th September 2017 Titled “MP urges Helensburgh to get smart on energy bills” In this article Mr O’Hara encourages everyone to get a smart meter fitted. ASAP. Shortly after this article I made several attempts to contact Mr O’Hara without any reply asking if this would result in increased electricity and gas bills.

Therefore after the announcement on Wednesday by British Gas (Duel fuel 5.5%) followed by a second announcement today by EDF you can imagine my shock when one of the reasons for these increases is the introduction of the Smart Meter. This increase will equate to approximately £60.00 increase in an average family’s yearly usage, this might not mean a lot to Mr O’Hara but it certainly will to hundreds of people in Argyll & Bute.

Therefore can I ask if Mr O’Hara reads this, I would welcome his feedback and what comments he has with regards to his previous article?

Graham Walker

Via email


This latest ONS survey on loneliness shows it doesn’t affect older people – its hits anyone regardless of their age in life.

We have so many new ways to communicate with people these days thanks to social media and technology, but more often than not, the traditional method of having a face to face conversation can dramatically help brighten someone’s day.

But how do people with sight loss feel? Apart from loneliness, they can feel isolated too, keen to become active and connected members of their community.

That’s why our befriending service is a lifeline for many people with a sight impairment as it offers companionship and support, and it’s a win-win situation.

Volunteer befrienders are making a huge difference to the life of the person with sight loss and also can meet new friends and learn new skills, such as sight awareness, emergency first aid and guiding techniques training.

Feeling lonely is also damaging towards mental health – it’s as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more dangerous than obesity.

Let’s help halt and reduce this epidemic and make the time to stop and listen to someone suffering from loneliness.

Not only will you be doing a good deed, but you may also discover something new from someone else’s wisdom whilst giving them a reason to love life.

Carl Hodson

Via email